Tips for Changing a Choke Cable on a Motorcycle

Replacing your motorcycle's choke cable is a task you can take on yourself with the right tools and a few tips. It’s not a job to be rushed. Take a little extra time and make sure every step is completely correctly.

Securing the Motorcycle

It’s vital that the bike is very well secured when you’re doing the work. The best way is to have it on a lift, although if you use one, strap the bike on well so it can’t move. It’s possible to do the work when the motorcycle is on a stand, although you’ll be missing the kind of stability that you really need. If you use a portable jack on the motorcycle, you’ll run into the same stability problem.


When changing a motorcycle choke cable, you’re lucky in that it takes very few tools. Virtually all you’ll need is an 11/16 inch wrench, which you’ll use on the nut that’s on the end of the choke cable. Beyond that, you’ll need to have fingers that can reach into tight spots and are able to unscrew small nuts and make adjustments.

Locating the Cable

It’s easy to find the choke cable. It runs from the choke knob, that you’ll find right by the motor, and runs to the carburetor. It allows you to vary the strength of the fuel mixture so the engine runs well in different conditions. If you’re a novice and unsure about different parts of the engine, using a service manual will help you locate both ends of the choke cable.

Removing the Cable

After you loosen the nut on the end of the cable, you’ll need to reach in and remove the cable by hand. This requires patience and people with stubby fingers might have problems managing it as it requires delicacy and dexterity. Don’t do this until you’ve disconnected the cable from the choke knob.

Installing A New Cable

When you’re putting on a new cable, start at the carburetor side before you connect to the choke knob. This will make the connection a great deal easier. Don’t try and do things the other way round. You do things in a particular order for specific reasons.  


Once the new choke cable is on the motorcycle, it will still need to be adjusted, which requires some finesse. If the cable is too tight, not enough fuel will come through and your bike won’t run properly. If it’s too loose, you risk having too much fuel rushing in, so the mixture will be very rich and may even flood out.

If you’re not sure exactly how the mixture should be, don't hesitate to ask a friend with experience rather than taking risks. Extended running with a bad mixture can eventually cause damage to your engine, which is a much more costly repair.